Crimson Blood in my Vanilla Ice Cream

I was the youngest of five children and grew up in an affluent town on the East Coast.  I always thought my father was strict and that justified his behavior.  At least that's what I told my friends.       

When I was six, our family was sitting around the kitchen table after attending church.  I said something that upset my father and he reached across the table and punched me in the nose.  Crimson blood dripped into my vanilla ice cream.  I sat hoping he felt bad.       

There were countless beatings with the belt for non-compliant behavior; eating the crumbs of my brother's ribbon candy, making too much noise emptying in the dishwasher, not washing the kitchen table properly. He kicked my brother's teeth out and broke his ribs. He constantly punched us and was extremely demeaning.       

The worst was that my mother sat by and did nothing. Later she said she was afraid we would all go to foster homes if she left him.  She had 10 brothers and sisters she could have asked for help, but she didn't want to trouble them.       

I am now 50 years old with two children that I would never let anyone lay a hand on.  Thankfully, my life has been good since I moved away.        

My best advice is to never stop believing in yourself and God's love. He wants us to be happy and we deserve it!  Being alive is a gift and what we've been through has made us strong in many ways.  The power of forgiveness can be transforming.  Let it go... Help someone... Love...

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